I have to say it’s been so hot lately that it’s hard to get motivated to pick up the camera and hit the streets. A few of the mornings have been bearable and that was the case last Sunday morning. Given a bit of coolness, Urban Woman and I decided to have coffee and split a chocolate chip scone in front of Just Ripe. Nice breeze, a few people passing on the street. We fell into conversation with Kristen and Jeff and had a great hour or so solving all the problems of downtown. Those kinds of moments, no one in a hurry, good coffee and conversation at a sidewalk table make living in the city worthwhile.
Then the day heated up and we retreated into our home. Somewhere along the way a nap entered the picture. Finally around 7:30 I decided I had to take a walk to at least see what was going on around town. Obviously the temperature would have mellowed by that time, right? Right: a mellow 96 degrees. Still, for the sake of you, my readers, I pushed forward into the waves of heat rising from the pavement.
OK, so that’s a little dramatic. I just needed to get out of the house. Amazingly, there was plenty of movement afoot. I’m convinced I turned into a wimp along the way. People enjoyed dinner at outside tables all over the square and up and down Gay Street. The most surprising of the outside diners to me was at Nama. I mean the fish is raw, already, and I’m thinking raw fish in the 96 degree temperatures. How fast would you need to eat that.
The theater lines meandered in several directions and didn’t diminish the entire time I walked around the city. It probably shows how old I am that I can’t quite imagine seeing any movie showing there. They seem to know their demographic really well, but I just wonder if one lonely screen couldn’t show something besides superheros, pop culture flavors-of-the-moment and movies with soundtracks so loud they would even hurt my old-man deaf ears? The same company shows great movies at Downtown West. I don’t get it – which is what I’m sure they would tell me. Anyway, the line was long and the temperature wasn’t dropping.
I found cool motorcycles at a couple of stops and most impressively found a little tyke following his mother through the square on a human-powered tricycle. Who said kids just stay indoors and play computer games or watch television?
Two guys worked out to music in Krutch Park doing some sort of martial arts. I couldn’t understand exactly the point of their choreographed moves, but I broke a sweat just watching them. They seemed to be equally as comfortable on the hands as on their feet.
Meanwhile, on the Market Square Stage where the basic set has been in place for a few days, actors practiced movements and lines to the upcoming productions mounted by the Tennessee Stage Company. Shakespeare on the Square returns to downtown Knoxville starting tomorrow (July 12) with the usual line-up of two plays, one comedy and one tragedy. This year’s comedy is “As You Like It” and the tragedy is “Julius Caesar. The comedy will be set in the post American Civil War era, while “Julius Caesar” will be performed in the era in which it was originally set.
While performances are free, donations are encouraged and $5 is a suggested amount. In the tenth season on the square (and 23rd overall), other options are also being provided. A VIP section for $15 will include seating under a tarp and a bottle of water. Otherwise, bring your own chair or blanket. Also new this year, two matinee performances will be offered inside the Square Room. “As You Like It” starts the series, but for schedules and other details, follow the link above.
I’m setting out a challenge to my readers: Why not try to read each of the plays (again, if you have already but it’s been a million years) and then go see them live? That’s what I’m going to try to do. It’s been so long I couldn’t tell you the plot of either, though I think I remember Julius doesn’t really come out very well in his play. Who’s up for it? Aren’t you guys the literatzi of Knoxville?
So, after an hour of watching more energetic people seem to shrug off the heat, I wandered home. I checked my phone and the temperature at 8:30 had cooled off to – wait, it hadn’t cooled off at all. Still 96 degrees. I’m glad my conservative friends have assured me this is just a fluke, that there’s no such thing as global warming. I kept telling myself that as I straggled back to the air-conditioning.